This is really something special and well worth visiting, hand made 'Anster' cheese using a traditional recipe produced on the farm by traditional methods. Unpasteurised milk is used directly from home-bred Holstein Friesian cows in 'Anster' cheese.
You can see the whole process via a viewing chamber and more importantly, sample and buy the cheese directly from the farmer.
With the price that farmers have received for their milk dropping, the Stewart family who have farmed at Falside for over 50 years, looked at how they could add value to their milk and looked at making cheese as an option.
It seemed a feasible possibility as no one else in Fife was making cheese from their own milk on the farm; there was a trend towards locally produced food; and last, but not least, the Stewart family love cheese - successful ideas tend to be ones that one has a passion for!
A fact-finding trip followed to Wales and the South-West of England (where many of Britain's artisan farmhouse cheeses are made) and a cheese-making Course at Reading University. By late 2007 a wonderful new building to house St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company Dairy was completed. In January 2008 the first cheese was born.
The key elements that make the cheese traditional and special are:-
- The use of unpasteurised milk, from their own herd of Holstein Friesian cows, means they have complete control over the whole process.
- Liquid pint starter cultures, used in cheese-making farms back to the 1950s, creating the complex flavours and aromas in 'Anster' cheese.
- The use of natural rennet to set the milk.
- The 'Anster' cheese curd is milled through a peg mill, unlike many cheeses produced elsewhere it shreds the curd into rough splinters, helping to contribute to the crumbly texture of the 'Anster' cheese.
- Traditional cast iron presses, are used to apply the right amount of pressure to the 'Anster' cheese - again, helping us to achieve the special 'Anster' cheese texture.
- Maturing - 'Anster' cheese is allowed to mature naturally.
Anster cheese making takes place three days each week, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays. Anster cheese is available to buy from the Coffee Shop, along with a selection of other British Cheeses - all made by farmers who produce using traditional methods just like the St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company, using their home-produced milk to make an artisan cheese on their farms.
The St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Dairy has a viewing gallery where you can watch the cheese making process, the Butterpat Coffee Shop, the Cheese Counter where you can eat tasty homemade snacks, local artwork, gifts and speciality foods.
Open 7 days Apr to Sep 9.30am-4.30pm, Oct to Mar 10am-4pm, Sun 11am-4.30pm. Falside Farm, Pittenweem KY10 2RT Tel 01333 312580 www.standrewscheese.co.uk